In the fall of 2012, a man living in Vermont became the center of the media’s attention for bringing a whole new meaning to the term helicopter parenting… literally. This concerned father built a camera-mounted remote control helicopter to follow his son to the bus stop every morning. Although his technique is undoubtedly creative, you don’t have to be technologically superior to make sure your child is safe. Using the five back-to-school safety tips below, learn how you can better protect your family when you’re not around.
Emergency Card: List all emergency contact numbers, addresses and a photo ID of your child on a small business card and attach it to his or her backpack. In addition, if your child has any allergies ranging from mild to severe, be sure to include that information on the card as well. Teach your children to use the numbers on the card in the event of an emergency.
Home Security: The significance of this time of year is the number of homes that are unoccupied during the day, thus becoming more vulnerable to home invasions. Today’s technologically advanced home security systems can really give peace of mind by offering tools to keep your home and family safe. Some systems even have camera features enabling you to watch your child walk into the house afterschool. In this case, be sure to teach your child how to lock the doors and reset the alarm immediately after returning home.
However, if an advance security system is not in your budget, consider investing in a doorstopper alarm and take steps to make your home look occupied (i.e. keeping a car parked in the driveway or installing motion-sensitive lights). And most importantly, talk to your child about what to do in the event that the security alarm goes off while they are home alone. Teach them to quickly to a safe place in your home, dial 9-1-1 and wait in the safe place until emergency responders arrive.
Bus Stop Safety: School buses are built to be the safest mode of transportation for children to get to and from school; however, in an average year, approximately 24 children are killed in school bus accidents in the US alone. To prevent this unimaginable tragedy from happening to your family, talk to your child about the rules of the road and which safety measures to practice each day.
For instance, make sure your child knows to always walk on the sidewalk or on the left side facing traffic. At the bus stop, be sure to remind them to never talk to strangers or get in the car with a stranger – no matter what. And finally, as the bus approaches, children are to stand at least five giant steps from the curb until the bus has come to a complete stop.
Social Networking & Bullying: All too soon, we watch as our little ones outgrow the ‘cuddling in snuggy pajamas’ phase and enter into a world of relentless texting and social networking. As this happens, don’t ignore it. Sit down to talk with your child and set boundaries. Discuss the types of information that should not be shared on the internet and the importance of only connecting with people they have befriended in real life. Secondly, be sure to discuss the very real dangers of bullying with your child. Encourage your child to come to you if they ever witness a bullying act or become the victim of it.
By signing up for Smart911, citizens can create a Safety Profile which allows you to enter any information you would like 9-1-1 call takers to be privy to in the event of any emergency. For example, should your child ever go missing, the picture and physical description you provided on your Safety Profile will immediately appear on the 9-1-1 call takers screen, thus significantly reducing the time it takes for first responders to take action and bring your child home safely. Protect your child when you are not able to by signing up for Smart911 today!